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How Computers Work - Expanded CD-ROM Version

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Take a trip through the neural pathways and vital organs of your personal computer with the newest edition of this long-standing bestseller. Glorious full color illustrations make even the most complex subjects easy to understand. Follow PC/Computing senior editor and computer expert Ron White as he shows you the cutting edge technologies, including the Internet, multimedia sound and video, Pentium processors, local bus architecture, Plug and Play, CD-ROM, digital cameras, color printing, and more in new chapters...
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Overview

Take a trip through the neural pathways and vital organs of your personal computer with the newest edition of this long-standing bestseller. Glorious full color illustrations make even the most complex subjects easy to understand. Follow PC/Computing senior editor and computer expert Ron White as he shows you the cutting edge technologies, including the Internet, multimedia sound and video, Pentium processors, local bus architecture, Plug and Play, CD-ROM, digital cameras, color printing, and more in new chapters on the hottest, and coolest, PC components.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A book/CD-ROM tour through the workings of the personal computer. Sections on microchips, data storage, input/output devices, multimedia, networks, and printers contain overviews of how and why technological processes work. The color diagrams explaining details are clearer and more interesting than the companion CD-ROM's interactive displays, video interviews, and computing tips. This second edition contains updated material on multimedia. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Stephanie Zvirin
Ever wonder what the guts of those familiar PCs look like? If you're curious but fear computerese might get in the way, this book's the answer. Although not entirely without technical terminology, it's an accessible, informative introduction that spreads everything out for logical inspection. Carefully sequenced captioned diagrams do most of the work. Scattered throughout the book, they conduct readers on a visual tour of PC terrain that begins with the bootstrap--the permanent coding that launches PC operations--and ends with explanations of how different kinds of printers handle the information PCs send. In between comes information about such things as RAM, a mouse, CD-ROM, and tape backup. To make everything even clearer, White introduces the explanatory diagrams with a few concise, lucid paragraphs of text. Readers will come away knowing not only what everything looks like but also what it does.
New York Times Book Review
For many computer users, the notion of probing beneath the covers of these expensive machines and noodling with their innards is not appealing. Even if someone works up the nerve to look around in there or dares to make some useful upgrades, poking around motherboards and expansion cards will probably feel like a perilous walk in the dark. But if knowledge is the light of the world, then the contents of the 292-page book "How Computers Work," which comes with a complementary CD-ROM, will certainly illuminate much about the inner workings of today's home and business computers-without requiring the user to look under the hood. Unlike instruction manuals that often come with computers and are either so laden with jargon or so simplified that they read like maps without street names, this large, well-illustrated book strikes a good balance between the needs of the beginner and those of the more experienced user. Its author, Ron White, a senior editor at PC Computing magazine and founder of one of the first PC online user groups, is an old hand at these kinds of books. A patient teacher, he writes in a clear and well-informed voice that says, "You, too, can understand this stuff." In the opening of chapter six, "How Windows Uses Memory," for example, White writes, "Memory is the staging area for the processor, the place where the processor receives the instructions and data it needs to do its job." And yes, this book, while conveying some information that is universal to practically all computers, is more or less aimed at explaining the ins and outs of Windows-based PC's with Intel chips, commonly known as Wintel computers. There is no mention, for example, of Macintosh computers. Windows 95 and Windows NT figure prominently in the book's explanations of software, and Intel's Pentium Pro chip gets its own chapter. To its credit, the book covers some of the most common computer peripherals, like printers, scanners, joysticks and even digital cameras. And "How Computers Work" delves into the unseen world of what is actually going on inside, say, a transistor, the building blocks of computer chips-the kind of exploration that is a must for any computer book worth a tree's life and limbs. Interested in the interplay of electrons on P-type silicon? White tries to make it seem oh so simple-most of the time. The generous use of large, colorful illustrations practically turns "How Computers Work" into a picture book. And the CD-ROM that comes tucked in a pocket inside the back cover is an imaginative interactive guide into the hardware of multimedia computers. Through sound and animation, the CD-ROM offers a 3-D vision, rather than the book's X-ray vision, of how computers work-for example, what happens when a floppy disk is formatted. In the face of this book-and-CD-ROM combination, the computer might have a tough time holding on to the mystery of its inner workings.
From Barnes & Noble
From the boot-up process to data storage to how the Internet works, this long-standing bestseller on computers takes the reader through the neural pathways and vital organs of a personal computer. Follow PC/Computing senior editor and computer expert Ron White as he guides you through pages and pages of eye-catching full-color illustrations that make even the most complex subjects easy to understand. Makes clear such cutting-edge technologies as the Internet, multimedia sound and video, Pentium processors, digital cameras, color printing processes, and more.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781562762506
  • Publisher: Macmillan Computer Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/1/1994
  • Series: How It Works Series
  • Pages: 202

Table of Contents

Introduction
Pt. I Boot-Up Process 1
Ch. 1 How the Power-On Self-Test Works 4
Ch. 2 How a Disk Boot Works 8
Pt. 2 How Hardware and Software Work Together 14
Ch. 3 How an Operating System Controls Hardware 18
Ch. 4 How the BIOS and Drivers Work 22
Ch. 5 How Plug and Play Works 26
Ch. 6 How Windows Uses Memory 30
Pt. 3 Microchips 34
Ch. 7 How a Transistor Works 38
Ch. 8 How RAM Works 42
Ch. 9 How a Computer Performs Math 48
Ch. 10 How CISC and RISC Processors Work 52
Ch. 11 How a Microprocessor Works 56
Pt. 4 Data Storage 64
Ch. 12 How Disk Storage Works 68
Ch. 13 How a Floppy Drive Works 78
Ch. 14 How a Hard Drive Works 82
Ch. 15 How Other Removable Storage Works 90
Ch. 16 How Disk Drives Increase Speed and Storage 96
Ch. 17 How a Tape Backup Works 104
Pt. 5 Input/Output Devices 110
Ch. 18 How a Bus Works 114
Ch. 19 How a Keyboard Works 122
Ch. 20 How a Computer Display Works 126
Ch. 21 How a Mouse Works 136
Ch. 22 How Game Controllers Work 140
Ch. 23 How Computer Ports Work 146
Ch. 24 How a Modem Works 158
Ch. 25 How a PC Card (PCMCIA) Works 166
Ch. 26 How Scanners and Optical Character Recognition Work 170
Ch. 27 How a Digital Camera Works 178
Ch. 28 How a Pen-Based Computer Works 182
Pt. 6 Multimedia 186
Ch. 29 How a CD-ROM Works 190
Ch. 30 How Multimedia Sound Works 200
Ch. 31 How Multimedia Video Works 206
Ch. 32 How Virtual Reality Works 210
Pt. 7 How the Internet Works 218
Ch. 33 How LANs Work 222
Ch. 34 How a LAN Connects to the Internet 230
Ch. 35 How E-Mail Works 236
Ch. 36 How Internet Video and Audio Work 240
Ch. 37 How the World Wide Web Works 246
Pt. 8 How Printers Work 254
Ch. 38 How Fonts Work 258
Ch. 39 How a Dot-Matrix Printer Works 264
Ch. 40 How a Laser Printer Works 268
Ch. 41 How Color Printing Works 272
Index 284
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